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Lawrence "Bear" Hartl

Lawrence “Bear” Hartl, 95, of Sturgeon Bay passed away at home on January 12, 2023.  He was born July 7, 1927, in Antigo, WI to Wenzel and Anna (Wilde) Hartl.  On August 20, 1949, he married Kathleen “Katie” Mistlebauer at St. Joseph Church in Sturgeon Bay.  She preceded him in death on August 22, 2021. They had been married for 72 years, living at the same address all those years.  

During World War II, Bear served his country in the 82nd Airborne of the U.S. Army.  After leaving the army, Larry worked at Bay Ship Building until he and his wife owned and operated the Pilot House Restaurant on Jefferson Street in Sturgeon Bay.  He also worked for Schinkten Oil and the Sturgeon Bay Street Department, and eventually retired as the Director of the Parks and Recreation Department. 

Bear enjoyed numerous relationships which he developed while coaching softball and baseball teams in Door County.  He was also a great mentor for kids who worked for the parks and recreation department.  Larry was a gifted, self-taught musician who played in numerous bands.  Many will remember the years Bear entertained many with his band Melody Four. 

Larry especially treasured the time spent with his grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great-granddaughter.

Survivors include his two grandchildren, Carrie (David) Herlache and Aaron “Cubby” (Chastity) Hartl; three great-grandchildren, Alana (Nathan) Hadley, Mia Hartl and Matthew Hartl; 1 great-great-granddaughter, Amanda Hadley: many nieces and nephews.  He was preceded in death by his parents, wife, son Lawrence “Bear” Hartl, brothers, sisters and in-laws.

Private graveside services with military honors will be conducted at St. Joseph Cemetery.  Forbes Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements. On-line condolences may be offered at

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